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Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2007, 05:47 PM
Number of posts: 1,052

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What are the candidates' positions on

attacking Indians with vicious dogs?

I expect a swift, strong and specific response from every serious candidate.

Xiuhtezcatl, the kind of endorsement that matters

to me.

Those of you have a vote, please, I'm asking you to stand for our generation, for our voices, for the people of this planet.

I don't care much about celebrity endorsements, or endorsements from politicians who don't represent me, except insofar as it reflects on the judgment of the endorser.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez --too young to vote himself-- makes an endorsement that matters much more.

Listen to his brief message:

Perspective: Why I Can't Support the Second-Best Candidate

I won't settle for second-best. I won't settle for pragmatic, incremental progress.

According to yet another divisive opinion, this one in the Guardian, and subject of a DU post, my self-righteous insistence is a result of white privilege, because only affluent white progressives can afford the privilege of being so picky.

Affluent? Hardly. I have a government document, Form 1044, that challenges that assertion, if it doesn't outright refute it.

White? Granted. Half of my ancestors were born and bred in eastern Europe. At some point one of them was progressive enough to leave Poland for the New World, come to look for America. I'm quite aware of many advantages their skin-color genes have given me. It's good to be as white as the President, and beneficial to look as white as the ones before him.

Progressive? OK. More of a liberal really, though apparently now it's acceptable to own even democratically-modified small-s socialist.

Privilege? The other half of my family has been in what is now the U.S. for thousands of years, ever since migrating down the glaciers from interior Canada. For most of those millennia things were quite good, privileged with plenty of food and enough wealth to share around.

Then the Russians came with their diseases, and things got worse.

Then the Boston Men came in their gunboats, and things suddenly got much worse. The U.S. Navy destroyed my family's town: bombarded it and then burned what was left, leaving the survivors with no winter stores. Eventually the town was rebuilt.

Then the Yankee missionaries came, and things got still worse again. The church men convinced the people that they were hell-bound sinners. They burned their totem poles, burned their regalia and any other sign of their culture; they suppressed their language and marriage customs; they moved out of their clan houses and into respectable American single-family dwellings (each needing a separate source of heat, the fuel oil conveniently sold by...guess who!). They sent their kids away to boarding schools. The cultural destruction and public burning was continuing in 1992.

Then the businessmen came, and grabbed up all the resources. They continue grabbing today.

Still, over the last hundred years or so, things have gotten gradually, incrementally better, less dramatic than bombing and burning, anyway. Not so much better for the young ones who decide suicide is a good choice. Or drugs. Or alcohol. (Hooch is the one word from their language that has been absorbed into English.) But better, generally -- mostly for those who more fully adopted the American life-style -- so there is an awareness of incremental improvement.

All this history, it is a kind of privilege: fear isn't going to work. Eight years of Big Hands or Booger Eater in the White House is not that scary to the kind of people who preserved an un-exploded Navy bomb in their homes for 140 years, because it was part of their town's history, and sacred in the sense of at.oow, a thing that defines them, paid for by lives. Fear isn't going to work. Another generation of conservative bigotry on the Supreme Court is not that scary to people who have hardly seen anything but bigotry there.

Is perfection the enemy of the good? Yeah, maybe, but the best is by definition better than second-best, isn't it? Self-righteous? Yeah, maybe. Sacrifice? A single vote in one election -- yeah, maybe. Life is full of loyalties, some more dear than others.

There's a long memory active here: our ancestors are never gone, they're always here, now. Our descendants are not away in the future: they're here, now. They're watching.

I can't afford to support second-best. I can't afford to choose the lesser of two evils. I can't afford to settle for "not as bad as the other guy," that idle threat. To be a good ancestor, for the sake of my descendants -- and yours too, by the way -- I can't afford it. I can't afford not to be idle no more.

It's not simply a matter of privilege: it's a matter of perspective.

"Historic agreement gives tribe foster care control"

Great news.

From Juneau Empire

Instead of going through the state court system, these cases will go through the tribal court system. Instead of state workers overseeing the cases, tribal case managers will work with families. Instead of the state licensing the foster homes, Central Council will recruit and license tribal foster homes and be reimbursed by the state for the cost of foster care placement.

“This truly is a government-to-government agreement that recognizes that tribes are uniquely and supremely and ultimately qualified to be able to meet the needs of tribal families,” said Valerie Davidson, Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner. “That’s not new. And quite frankly — if I may as an Alaska Native — we have known that for thousands of years.”

(Francine Eddy) Jones (director of Central Council’s Tribal Family & Youth Services) said Central Council hopes to provide a lot of support and encouragement to families who’ve had children taken away and tribal foster families, many of whom don’t trust the state.

“It really means taking care of our own,”Jones said. “It means being responsible and respectful and honoring them with the values of the tribe, making sure we’re holding up those families whatever that situation is for why their children are removed, embrace them and provide them the support and services they need to get back on their feet, and hopefully be reunited with their children. That’s our commitment.”

Really, this should not be news, it should be the norm.

Justice Scalia on Indian Law: "We're just making it up"

April Youpee-Roll, Missoula Independent

Just making it up:
On Justice Scalia, Indian law and the Supreme Court's future

He signed my book, and as he handed it back to me, he said something I'll never forget: "You know, when it comes to Indian law, most of the time we're just making it up." This was a shock. My first encounter with the Supreme Court over a decade earlier had convinced me of their legal omnipotence, and although my subsequent education had taught me to be more critical, especially with regard to Indian law, it was still a surprise to hear a justice admit as much.

Now, with the opportunity to appoint a justice to fill Scalia's untimely vacancy, I can only hope that President Obama will keep one thing in mind. It's something we already know, but that the court is characteristically slow to reflect: Diversity is important. Not just in terms of gender, race or geography, but diversity of experience. Understanding Indian law isn't about niche expertise or showing favoritism to a particular political group. Rather, it's about valuing the implications of a decision beyond their "made up" logical conclusions and appreciating them for their historical significance and tangible impact on the lives of nearly three million American Indian people, their neighbors, and the states in which they live.

The Indian law cases that land before the Supreme Court have broad implications for real human beings subject to an inordinate amount of federal discretion. So far this term, the court has already taken four. The implications of these decisions will determine, for example, if a tribe has civil jurisdiction over a non-Indian who sexually assaulted a teenager on tribal land, and whether or not Congress' efforts to confront epidemic levels of domestic violence in Indian Country will be thwarted by a lack of respect for the decisions of tribal courts. If the court is truly making anything up, it's the increasing limitations on the breadth and reach of tribal sovereignty, which includes the ability of a tribe to ensure the health and safety of its people. And that's important enough that even a fifth grader could understand.

(Emphasis added)


That was Clyde Bellecourt, cofounder of AIM

The angry native man who started speaking at the end of the Black America Community Forum was Clyde Bellecourt, cofounder of the American Indian Movement.

DU has gotten all riled up lately about respect for prominent civil rights activists. Geez, Bernie, don't disrespect Clyde Bellecourt. Meet with him. Soon. He was angry--damn right he was angry--he was arrested just a couple years ago, for sitting on a bench in a mall, listening to the drums of a Round Dance Revolution event in support of Idle No More. So he was angry--listen to him. Damn it. Listen. Answer his question.

OK, I know, Bernie had to get to another event. He's busy; he's on a tight schedule. I know that. But Clyde Bellecourt is not just some angry dude. Cofounder of the most controversial, notorious and influential Indian organization of the 20th century--he deserves to be heard and answered. And he's Native--understand this: when a Native, especially an elder, has something important to say, white man's time is irrelevant to him; if you're going to listen, you'd better be patient. And you really should listen.

I'm in for Bernie, and I'll stay in, but please, Bernie, do the right thing, again.

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Ahh. I can feel good about my '96 Escort now

Because of this:

"If they still sold cars with manual locks and windows, that's what Bernie would have," per Jane Sanders

from (of all places) a Food & Wine piece that quotes a People article, Neither of which do I regularly read, if ever. Bernie's showing up in unexpected places, he is.

My window used to be manual; now it's not because the handle came off. The lock is getting kind of touchy, too, especially in winter. I admit I had been feeling a little down about having a pretty blue Bernie sticker on my limping old bucket-a-bolts. But now I can rattle around town with my head held high.

So, thank you, Food & Wine, People, and Jane Sanders.

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